Wednesday, April 23, 2014 1:30 PM
Published on: Thursday, July 25, 2013
By Holden Wilen
ROCKVILLE – After going hitless in his first four at-bats, Will Kengor came through when it mattered when he knocked a two-run, walkoff triple in the 10th inning to lead the Express to a 3-2 home win against the Bethesda Big Train on July 22.
The starting pitchers dominated the game, as both went nine innings and gave up a combined two runs. Express starter Daniel Gurganus gave up one run on six hits while striking out five batters. Big Train starter Danny Mooney, who came into the game with a 1.75 ERA, gave up one run on four hits and struck out five.
Early on, it did not seem like the game would be a pitchers’ duel. The Big Train took a quick 1-0 lead when outfielder David Del Grande took the second pitch of the game deep down the left-field line for his second home run of the season. After the home run, Gurganus settled down, and the Express tied the game in the second inning.
“I did not know what Dan was going to give us after the first inning,” said Express assistant coach Bill Murphy, who managed the team because head coach Rick Price was sick. “He gave up a leadoff home run, but that just shows what kind of a kid he is to give up a leadoff home run. It would have been very easy to cave in, but he threw the ball very well and gave us nine strong innings and a shot to win it.”
In the ninth inning, the Express had a chance to end the game. Kengor, a senior shortstop out of Slippery Rock University, reached base on an error by the Big Train shortstop. After the next hitter placed down a sacrifice bunt, the Express had Kengor on second with only one out. At that time, Big Train coach Sal Colangelo made the decision to intentionally walk the next two hitters to set up a forceout at any base.
The Express failed to take advantage of the opportunity to score with the bases loaded after Mooney retired the next two batters.
In the top of the 10th inning, the Big Train took the lead after shortstop Ryne Willard hit his second double of the game and ended up scoring on a passed ball. Heading into the bottom half of the inning, Kengor said the Express had a bleak outlook in the dugout.
“The inning before that, we thought we won the game and then came back and gave up that run on a couple of misfortunate plays,” Kengor said. “We got back in here, and Coach Murphy did a good job keeping us up and we found a way. That is all that matters.”
The Big Train brought in left-handed reliever Kit Scheetz to close out the game, but things did not go his way. He hit the first batter of the inning and then gave up a base hit. After the next batter flew out, Kengor came to the plate with two men on and one out.
Kengor said he had never faced Scheetz before, so he was looking for a fastball. When he got the fastball, he drilled it to left-centerfield for a two-run triple to end the game.
“It felt pretty good off the bat,” Kengor said. “I struggled at the beginning of the game. I just tried to barrel up the ball and I eventually ran into one.”
The win was the fourth in five games for the Express, which is now 23-14 and has surged into second place. Meanwhile, the first-place Big Train lost its third game in four days after starting the season 26-7.
“[The Express] did not give up after getting down,” Colangelo said. “They fought back, and we did not make the pitch. They made the plays there in the last inning. My hat is off to them.”